NBA Hall of Famer “Easy Ed” Macauley dies at 83
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ed Macauley, one of the NBA’s first big stars who won a championship with the St. Louis Hawks and was traded by the Boston Celtics for Bill Russell, has died. He was 83.
Saint Louis University announced Macauley’s death on Tuesday. The school had no other details. “Easy Ed” was a standout player with the Billikens, leading them to the 1948 NIT title.
Macauley was elected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1960. A native of St. Louis, he was a territorial pick of that city’s Basketball Association of America franchise, the Bombers. He played there for one season and then was selected by the Celtics in a 1950 dispersal draft.
Macauley played for the Celtics from the 1950-51 season until 1955-56. He and the draft rights to future Hall of Famer Cliff Hagan were traded by Boston to the St. Louis Hawks on April 29, 1956, for the rights to Russell, a move that changed the power structure of the NBA.
The Celtics went on to win 11 titles with Russell dominating in the paint.
After the deal, Macauley and the Hawks faced Russell and the Celtics in consecutive NBA finals. Boston won in 1957, then the Hawks took the crown in 1958.
The 6-foot-8 Macauley, who had his No. 22 retired by the Celtics, played three seasons with the Hawks before retiring with a career average of 17.5 points per game. He was a seven-time All-Star, six of the appearances with Boston. He was the MVP of the first NBA All-Star game in 1951.
He coached the Hawks for two seasons, compiling an 89-48 record with two playoff appearances.
Macauley scored 24 points as Saint Louis University, which finished with a 24-3 record under first-year coach Ed Hickey, beat New York University in the 1948 NIT championship game at Madison Square Garden. Three days later, the team arrived at Union Station by train and was greeted by 15,000 fans for a parade.
“It was like a fairy tale,” Macauley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “St. Louis never had seen anything like that. But we didn’t really feel special. It was family, all those people, and you don’t feel special with family.”
The next season Saint Louis, with Macauley starring inside, was ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll. He was a first-team All-America selection as a junior and senior. He still ranks 10th on Saint Louis’ career scoring list with 1,402 points.
After his basketball career ended, Macauley worked as an investment banker and a television sportscaster. In 1989, he co-authored a book about writing homilies.
When he got his star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 2003, he told the story about how he got his nickname when he was a sophomore at Saint Louis.
“It was the first time I was appointed captain,” he said. “We dressed in the basement of West Pine Gym and it was my role to lead the team from the basement locker room through the door.
“But nobody followed me when I ran down the court and made a layup. Then I heard people shout, ’Take it easy, Ed.’ I didn’t realize it, but they were playing the national anthem. That ’Easy Ed’ nickname helped me get a lot of attention.”
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